Lindian Resources Ltd has kicked off stage 1 processing plant development, a key step in transforming its Kangankunde Rare Earths Project in Malawi into a producing asset.
The stage 1 plant is based on processing an initial annual throughput of 220,000 tonnes of material to produce a monazite concentrate, expanding to 440,000 tonnes per annum, making this first phase development a significant operation in its own right.
Looking ahead, Lindian’s strategic development of a larger stage 2 operation based on a notional processing throughput of 1.5 million tonnes per annum is expected to begin in 2024.
Production – a key priority
Lindian executive chairman Asimwe Kabunga said: “We are very encouraged by the progress made in transforming Kangankunde into a producing asset and we will soon communicate the value and financial metrics of this stage 1 development.
“When we secured the project, we made a commitment to the Malawian Government and the local community that advancing Kangankunde into production was a key priority.
“Today’s announcement illustrates that we are delivering on this commitment.
“As we have previously reported, we have received considerable inquiry from rare earths industry participants, trading houses and other off-takers interested in securing monazite concentrate from Kangankunde.
“Technical studies of the stage 1 plant will allow us to run a formal process to select the customers that bring the best outcome for Lindian.
“In terms of funding, we also have many options ranging from equity, debt, and prepayment solutions. We will secure the optimum outcome for shareholders in this regard.”
Mine design works for the initial stage 1 of production will be undertaken in two stages with the first stage will assessing the design of an initial trial mining program.
Notably, the stage 1 processing plant is based on mobile screening and crushing operation and a milling circuit. The ROM stockpile of crushed mineralisation from a mining contractor using mobile crushing and screening plant.
A milling circuit with a forecast throughput of approximately 220,000 tonnes per annum will potentially increase to 440,000 tonnes with the addition of a second integrated circuit following ramp-up and optimisation.
Lindian CEO Alistair Stephens said: “Lindian has multiple workstreams advancing including engineering development, ongoing drilling and assaying, metallurgical work and now multiple stage 1 project design and development activities.
“Having a fully permitted project gives us a major strategic advantage and facilitates rapid development of this project.
A detailed mine design, plan and schedule will be undertaken in early 2024 using the mineral resource estimate update to indicated resources.
Lindian has begun discussions with multiple providers with an expectation to invite tenders for the provisions of the drill, blast, load, haul and mobile crushing services by early 2024.
Stephens added: “This next step in project development, which is occurring eight months since we first commenced works on the ground, will form an important message to both the Government of Malawi and the local community on our commitment to developing this project consistent with the government’s focus on mining development in the nation.
“The opportunities that this project will provide are profound, will benefit Malawi’s economic development, improve the welfare of its citizens, improve the social economic empowerment of the Malawian people and assist in the uplift of local community development, while delivering sustainable Lindian shareholder value and managing environmental impacts with the leading practice of industry standards.”